Now playing on Rabid In The Kennel, an invigorating, absolutely smashing live-in-studio session with our current issue 68 cover stars—yes, it’s the Brooklyn fuzzy-indie-rock band powerhouse The Pains of Being Pure at Heart! Hurrah! Can you tell we are excited? Listen now!
The quintessential buzz band that’s actually genuinely great for a change, the fivesome, led by singer/guitarist/singer Kip Berman , keyboardist Peggy Wang , bassist Alex Naidus , drummer Kurt Feldman and recent addition/second guitarist Christoph Hochheim (also of Feldman’s late-greats Depreciation Guild , who were “Rabid in the Kennel” guests as their farewell performance earlier this year) visited East Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s The Kennel studio on one of their few breaks from a tour schedule that has them away from their home New York nearly the entire year, and proves that as a live unit, they have every bit as much passion and energy, cloudy atmospherics, and dew-dripped melodies as they have on their two albums to date, the eponymous debut and the new Belong (both released on California’s terrific Slumberland Records label), and my interview with them was a particular exercise in goodwill and charm I am sure Big Takeover readers will love!
After all—and he thought we had forgotten before I hit ‘im with it during this Rabid in the Kennel interview—frontman Berman actually used to write for The Big Takeover! Sheepishly put on the spot near the end of the show, he recalls for us what reviews he contributed to our pages before he put together the group that would obviously end up sucking up all his free time, and leave him unable to continue in his side career as shadowy rock scribe! Ha Ha!
Yes, we know how to spot talent at The Big Takeover! And that just adds an extra level of hilarity and comfort to this month’s show! Check it out!
For more info on the band, here’s the review I composed of their new album, which is my #20 pick in the brand new, current issue 68 of Big Takeover!
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Guarding against sophomore slump, Brooklyn’s Pains secure an upgrade in production, hiring the tandem of Flood (known for working with Brian Eno on U2, but I’d ask about engineering The Sound’s 1982 killer, All Fall Down) and dreampop legend Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Swervedriver, Adorable, his wife’s Curve, early Ride…). The result is another LP like 2009’s praiseworthy eponymous debut, only the depth has doubled. Flood ‘n’ Moulder add clarity/definition to frontman Kip Berman’s guitar shake; after collaborating on Jesus & Mary Chain two decades ago, managing his wet sound without getting the Pains lost in their rack mounts’ effects boxes is elementary. Instead, the stun-gun feel just enhances the throwback essences in this younger band’s love-letter to an ‘80s Creation/4AD/Rough Trade Britain, making everything sparkle, shine, and shimmy again. Berman’s vocals are thinner, more boyish than Adam Franklin, Kevin Shields, Miki Berenyi, et al.; but like the J&MC Reid brothers, he’s got a knack for innocent ‘60s pop gems corrupted by fuzzy guitar, a thicket of rumbling sound that pins his U.S. ‘60s/U.K. ’80s jangle licks. Throw in his sensuous boy/girl harmonies with light-touch keyboardist Peggy Wang, and a clutch of dance rhythms by bassist Alex Naidus and drummer Kurt Feldman, and you have an excellent band busting a move to bigger screens without selling souls. Belong’s aural splendors just reinforce an already clicking talent for incandescent, pop-loving synthesis, which keeps Pains transcending any tag of old-timey Anglophile tribute, wanly pining for a C86/shoegaze Brit-indie hybrid of their dreams. Go ahead—lose yourself in its hazy, smoldering vapor trail of sweetness and light! — JACK RABID
Don’t miss this session! And visit the Rabid In The Kennel web site for updates!